Hair Cuts Neath the Sycamore Tree
A New Barber in Town
When the local barber in our mill village community of Tuxedo elected to retire there wasn't another to take over his business. Mr Lowe was an old man the first time I ever sat on the oak board placed on the arms of his barber chair for us little guys. The barber shop was usually crowded on Saturdays but most didn't mind the wait and the men in the shop would laugh and talk while waiting their turn. As a little boy with an impressionable mind, I learned much by listening.
With no barber in the village we were faced with a few choices. We could make the drive to Flat Rock where there was another barber shop or further up the road into Hendersonville where there were several barber shops or we could let someone in the community cut our hair who wasn't a trained barber. My mom always said the only difference between a good hair cut an a bad one is two weeks. One thing for sure my brother and I had gotten a few of those bad hair cuts from Mr. Lowe who was prone to aggravation and had little patience allowing his mood to sometimes dictate the quality of your hair cut.
With the barber shop closed my brother and I along with several of our friends elected to have Uncle Clyde to cut our hair. Clyde had purchased a set of clippers and I'm not sure who may have been his first customer though I suspect they may have been my grandpa and another uncle who rarely left the mountain where they lived. Clyde would cut their hair on Sunday mornings while his wife and daughter attended church.
Clyde worked in the Community Store during the day and was also our Fire Chief. At the time the fire trucks of our local fire department were parked in a building directly behind the Community Store and if an emergency warranted the need, Clyde was close by and the village firemen could respond fairly quickly. Clyde's day at the store normally ended at 5 pm so after his normal work day he could cut our hair.
There was a sycamore tree in Clyde's front yard and he would run a drop cord to a chair he bought out of the house. We would each get our hair cut and listen to the small transistor radio tuned to a local country western station. We enjoyed the times sitting and listening to the music getting our ears lowered and playing bad mitten in Clyde's yard. We also had wiener roasts and played records my cousin had. Most of the village kids surrounding the Company Store came and we had a blast. The girls would dance and we boys would watch sometimes mocking and laughing at them. Most of us boys couldn't dance if our lives had depended our being able to dance.
It wasn't until the last few years that Tuxedo finally got a barber. Mr Chris Stepp opened a shop in the old Freeman's Lunch. Ironically his shop is directly across the highway from where Mr. Lowe's shop was located and the fire department which is now a modern up to date Fire and Rescue Unit of which we are so proud.